Earlier this month, we reported on the heartbreaking story about a child that had died soon after leaving an immigration detention. At the time, the story was uncorroborated. We knew very little details about what had transpired and led to this child’s death. All we knew at the time was that the child had been detained with her mother at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley. We also knew that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had at first denied the story, then issued a statement in which they said the child did not die in their custody. Now we’re finally learning more about this horrific case.
Yazmin Juárez arrived in the U.S. on March 1 with her daughter, 18-month-old Mariee. They were then detained in Dilley. A few days later, her baby caught a cold while being detained and her illness just got worse. They were then released and Juárez sought medical care. CNN reports that the child was “hospitalized for respiratory failure for six weeks and died at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on May 10.” Now she is seeking legal action, VICE news reports.
Yazmin Juárez arrived at the South Texas Family Residential Center, in Dilley, Texas from Guatemala, in March, with her 18-month-old daughter, Mariee, a healthy toddler, who got sick during their ICE detention and 6 weeks later was dead. https://t.co/NLRnPpCVCD
— Drogon (@drogon_dracarys) August 27, 2018
“Instead of offering safe harbor from the life-threatening violence they were fleeing, ICE detained Yazmin and her baby in a place with unsafe conditions, neglectful medical care, and inadequate supervision,” Attorney R. Stanton Jones told VICE. “While there, Mariee contracted a respiratory infection that went woefully undertreated for nearly a month. After it became clear that Mariee was gravely ill, ICE simply discharged mother and daughter. Yazmin immediately sought medical care for her baby, but it was too late.”
The 20-year-old mother said that her baby was a healthy child when they were detained at the border seeking asylum. She says that just six weeks later, after being released, her baby died of a “treatable respiratory infection.” VICE also interviewed five pedestrians that reviewed Mariee’s medical record. They all said that after reading about Mariee’s condition, ICE responded to Mariee as they would have done for the child had she been under their care. However, the condition and environment in which Mariee was in did not help her health.
“It’s reasonable care,” Dr. Ewen Wang at Stanford University Medical Center, told VICE. “It didn’t sound like she was in the best of health, but not something you anticipate dying from.”
CNN reports that Juárez and her attorneys are seeking $40 million for wrongful death from the city of Eloy, Ariz — whom have contracts with the detention center.
“A mother lost her little girl because ICE and those running the Dilley immigration prison failed them inexcusably,” according to the law firm’s statement sent to CNN.